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If you are a distillery, winery, or brand owner of alcoholic beverages, and have been in business long enough, you have likely faced a situation where your product labels which have already been applied to your bottles are no longer accurate and thus, technically, non-compliant.  Fortunately, there is a process offered by the U.S. Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) which may allow for you to “use up” these products, thus saving you the headache, time, and expense of having to remove or re-label the existing products.

The TTB has acknowledged reasons why product labels may not strictly comply with the labeling requirements of the FAA Act and where a “use up” request may be appropriate.  These situations include the sale of a brand to another company, a change in location of where the brand is manufactured, or another reason resulting in the change of address of the holder of the certificate of label approval (“COLA”).  The TTB considers these requests on a case-by-case basis, and it is important to note that these approvals are reserved for situations where the TTB determines that a consumer is not likely to be misled by the label.

To seek a “use up” request, the following information must be submitted via written request to the TTB:

  1. Information identifying the affected label(s), including the brand name, serial number or TTB ID number.  The written request/letterhead request must be attached to the applicable COLA(s).
  2. The reason(s) you are requesting permission to “use up” existing labels.
  3. The reason you have incorrect/non-compliant labels (i.e., how did this happen).
  4. The steps to be taken to ensure (to the best of your ability) that this will not happen in the future).
  5. The quantity of labels on hand and the area of distribution/market you wish to “use up” and introduce the products into.
  6. The length of time you need in order to “use up” these products.
  7. Suggested alternatives to using incorrect/non-compliant labels, such as the addition of a strip label. 

It is highly recommended, in addition to the above, to also include information pertaining to the economic harm the supplier will suffer if you had to destroy or otherwise could not “use up” the inventory.  Note that if multiple products/COLAs are involved, multiple requests will need to be submitted, as the submissions are per certificate.

Last modified: July 26, 2022